Plein air festivals -
Susan Paterson, plein air painting at Seal Creek along Highway 209

The Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival took place earlier this month in Nova Scotia, Canada. Robert More, Executive Director of Parrsboro Creative, takes us through the event.

Day 1: Thirty-five artists from across the continent poured into Parrsboro. I use the word “pour” advisedly, as the Bay of Fundy had decided to offer a steady mix of gray drizzle with intermittent segments of downpour. But the painters went out, undaunted and determined, and by mid afternoon, they were sending back images of their stunning work. They came to put the soul of the spectacular Parrsboro Shore on canvas, and they’ve done it.

Day 2: The mighty Fundy turned kind. Clear blue skies with warm sunshine. The Minas Basin — a part of the bay that squeezes billions of tons of water into 40-foot-high tides — had never looked more beautiful, and the haunting power of this region was on full display. The artists felt it and so did the town. Energy was surging.

Plein air festivals -
Janet Sutherland, painting en plein air at Partridge Island

Day 3: Anticipation was in the air for the Collector’s Preview and Awards Night. The work was phenomenal, with an inspired mix of representational and impressionistic. The crowd was responsive. The seascapes, vistas, and landmarks they knew so well were right in front of them in living color. The atmosphere was electric as Judge Richard Sneary announced the winning artists. It was a joyous celebration of things creative, an evening to remember.

Day 4: More glorious weather. Painters found their spots up and down Main Street and at the Harbour, and the townspeople were captivated by what they saw. By 2:00 p.m., after only two hours, the paintings were in. Once again, the work was impressive, and crowds milled around for hours to browse and buy.

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Best in Show: Nancy Tankersley, “Lifting Clouds,” oil on panel, 16 x 20 in. – Learn about Nancy Tankersley’s Liliedahl video, “Painting from Photographs” here
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First Runner Up: Alison Menke, “The Strength of a Solitary Rock,” oil on panel, 18 x 18 in.

Taking root in a community where arts and culture are a natural part of everyday life, fueled by the fire of the artists’ imagination, inspired by the mythic power and primal beauty of a spectacular environment. This is the Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival.

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